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Ninety minutes with board secretaries

Sunday morning was their turn to speak. About 18 people attended the Sunday Coffee and Conversations roundtable for board secretaries. Putting aside their record-keeping and other tasks, there was no shortage of comments and questions from the group.

Acknowledging that this board-elected position is handled differently in different districts, the group focused its attention on the duties of the job, the board meeting agenda, Open Meetings Act requirements, and the board's deliberative processes.

Anna Lovern, director of policy services for IASB led the discussion. She reminded the participants that the board minutes are legal documents. "Regardless of who prepares or edits them, or how detailed they may be, care must be used to assure their accuracy," she said. "Changing the minutes before the board sees them or acts on them would make a school attorney very nervous."

While some secretaries were concerned about authority and timing of editing changes, others asked how much detail the minutes should reflect.

"Most attorneys will tell you (to) put as little as necessary," Lovern said. "But it's a fine line, because this is also a historic document."

Several district representatives noted that their communities expressed gratitude for keeping verbatim board records and for broadcasting board meetings.

Others were concerned with the limitations of being recording secretaries while attempting to participate in the deliberations of the board meeting. Several suggestions were made, such as using the superintendent or staff secretary as a recording secretary, and taking votes separately from the discussion period.

Other topics for the board secretaries roundtable included the use of board committees, preparation of board packets, roll calls versus voice votes, and executive sessions.



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